As we have become dependent upon IT to perform even the most mundane of tasks in the workplace, when there is a problem with systems availability, it can leave an organisation effectively dead in the water.
This puts even greater pressure on IT teams to minimise downtime and deliver an ‘always on’ network. The trouble is, most organisations are not able to provide 24/7 support to their workforce. This is where managed service providers can add genuine value.
Aside from the provision of round-the-clock support, there are three key areas in which a managed service provider can add value:
Identifying weaknesses and minimising downtime
Simplifying IT systems for end users can add a layer of complexity to the network that IT departments must manage. Systems going down, even for a short time, can have a profound effect on the bottom line, not only in terms of lost productivity, but also in terms of resource devoted to solving the problem.
In addition, because today’s IT systems are so integrated, the effect of an outage can be felt as a ripple effect across the business – not just at the point of failure.
Filling gaps in skills and knowledge
The complexities of systems can also lead to gaps in the skills and knowledge of IT teams. Often solutions such as mobility platforms require specific technical knowledge to be effectively managed and maintained. Without it, you’re not likely to get the most out of your investment.
Optimising network performance
Having the tools in place to correctly monitor and manage the network is key to ensuring networks function correctly and perform to their maximum. Management information and detailed performance metrics allow IT to proactively manage assets and identify weaknesses before they become performance-affecting.
Prevention is better than cure. Proactive monitoring and preventative maintenance makes more sense than relying on a break-fix mentality; especially if the aim is to maintain 100% availability.
Technology roadmaps play an important role in life-cycle management. However, a purely technical assessment of product life-cycles doesn’t always represent good value. Assets that reach end of life from a support contract or balance sheet perspective may still have a role to play within your infrastructure.
While many tools on the market will focus solely on the technical aspects of network devices such as end of life and end of support, what they don’t do is take it one step further and analyse the business impact if a device fails. In some circumstances the effects would be negligible, while in others it can result in extensive downtime.
Tools that do take business impact into account provide a much clearer view of an IT environment, allowing you to manage it intelligently. If an asset isn’t business-critical, it can be “sweated” well beyond its usual lifespan to create greater long-term return on your initial investment. Of course, the opposite is also true. If an asset is business-critical, it is essential that it remains within support.
In conjunction with road-mapping, review workshops are a great way of conducting impact analysis and identifying potential weak points within your network, establishing if they’re minor or business-critical, so you can take appropriate action.
With the right managed service provider, it’s possible for IT teams to ensure their network is secure, stable and available, 100% of the time.